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Thread: Major John MacBride

  1. #1

    Default Major John MacBride

    Given that we've recently been examining the feet of clay of some of the 1916 martyrs, it seems opportune to take a closer look at this fellow. Yeats, of course, memorably described him as:

    This other man I had dreamed
    A drunken, vainglorious lout.
    He had done most bitter wrong
    To some who are near my heart,


    The bitter wrong, it would seem, consisted of the attempted drunken paedophiliac rape of his stepdaughter Iseult Gonne. Of course, some of the misty-eyed nationalist romanticists on this site will immediately start to jump up and down and shout slander but I think it is salutary for us as a nation to have a good "warts and all" look at some of the founders of our state and the heroes we have placed on pedestals.
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Major John MacBride

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Bloom
    Yeats, of course, memorably described him as:

    The bitter wrong, it would seem, consisted of the attempted drunken paedophiliac rape of his stepdaughter Iseult Gonne. Of course, some of the misty-eyed nationalist romanticists on this site will immediately start to jump up and down and shout slander but I think it is salutary for us as a nation to have a good "warts and all" look at some of the founders of our state and the heroes on pedestals.
    I don't think anyone objects to a warts and all look at republican heroes, but there's a difference between that and simple slander. Yeats hated McBride even before he ever met him simply because he married Maud Gonne so citing him as a source is a bit silly.

    By all accounts McBride was a disaster as a husband and accusations of adultery, domestic abuse and a possible sexual attack on his step-daughter, who would have been nine or ten at the time, were made, but they were never proven.

    Edited this as I came across a report on the net http://www4.ncsu.edu/~alfrench/IseultGonne.pdf which has more information and suggests it might not have been Iseult that Gonne was referring to in the first place.

  3. #3

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    Very informative link, Cain. Thank you.
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

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    Yeats was jealous of McBride.

    The McBrides were and are a highly respected Mayo family. Maude Gonne made many false accusations against him.

  5. #5

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ergo
    Yeats was jealous of McBride.

    The McBrides were and are a highly respected Mayo family.
    That may or may not be the case. However, many families have their black sheep. Just look at the Cosgraves - also regarded by some as highly respectable. I'd say Liam Snr was mortified at the antics of Liam Jnr. http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0227/cosgravel.html

    By all contemporary accounts (and not just the word of Yeats and Gonne) MacBride appears to have been a complete lout. Furthermore, he sided with the Boers. I don't think the most ardent modern day Irish nationalists would want to be seen to have sided with the Boers, even in a fight against the much hated Brits! This is probably one of the reasons why MacBride is not one of their more loudly trumpeted heroes.
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

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    To Leopold Bloom

    John McBride was not a "black sheep".

    Yes he fought like many Irish men with the Boers - What is your problem with that?

  8. #8

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    Leopold.

    Where to begin?

    First off the Boer War was a conflict between two sets of colonials who wanted to exploit Africa for their own interests and who regarded the local population as inherently inferior. To portray the Boers as the "baddies" in that particular moral swamp is a waste of a post, quite frankly.

    Secondly The reason McBride isn`t more widely trumpeted among Irish Nationalists is that his impact was tiny on Irish nationalism. Whose place would you suggest he take Pearse? Connolly? Wolfe Tone? Tom Clarke? O`Donovan Rossa? all of those had a huge impact. Kevin Barry was executed by himself, was young and good looking, Dan Breen and Ernie O`Malley wrote memoirs.

    Thirdly Military adventures and orgnisations attract a certain amount of louts. McBride may or may not have been one. But of 16 men execcuted in 1916 there was bound to be one or two who weren`t admirable men.

    Now you`ve yet to post up any information yourself regarding McBride except for rumour and innuendo. Any hard facts? I`d suggest going and doing some research . You could start by trying to ascertain whether or not anyone has any actual information about McBride himself .

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ergo

    Yes he fought like many Irish men with the Boers - What is your problem with that?
    If you don't know the answer to that, my friend, then I suggest you go and ask Nelson Mandela.
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by anmajornarthainig



    Kevin Barry was executed by himself, was young and good looking, Dan Breen and Ernie O`Malley wrote memoirs.
    Funny, I thought the Brits did it: aren't you lucky this site has an edit facility?
    Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
    George Orwell

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